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The Supreme Court's Dobbs Ruling Is an Attack on Us All

4 2 19
19.07.2022

When I was the age that my daughter is now, my favorite sweatshirt had the words "Choice, Choice, Choice, Choice" in rainbow letters across its front. My mom got me that sweatshirt at a 1989 rally in response to Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. In that case, the Supreme Court upheld a Missouri law restricting the use of state funds and facilities for abortion, an early attempt to eat away at Roe v. Wade. And though many adults in the Wisconsin neighborhood where I grew up thought that message inappropriate for a 13 year old, I wore it proudly. Even then, I understood that it spoke not just to a person's right to an abortion, but also to the respect and dignity that should be afforded every human being.

The multi-decade campaign to reverse Roe v. Wade has always been about building a political movement to seize and wield political power.

Since then, it has become increasingly clear that our society does not confer rights and dignity on we the people—as seen in the slashing of school food programs, the denial of Medicaid expansion in states that need it most, attacks on Black, Brown, and Native bodies by the police and border patrol, as well as the Supreme Court's recent decisions to put fossil-fuel companies ahead of the rest of us, guns above kids, and deny sovereignty to indigenous people and tribes, while failing to protect our voting rights and ending the constitutional right to abortion.

For millions of us, the Dobbs v. Jackson decision on abortion means that life in America has just grown distinctly more dangerous. The seismic aftershocks of that ruling are already being felt across the country: 22 states have laws or constitutional amendments on the books now poised to severely limit access to abortion or ban it outright. Even before the Supremes issued their decision, states with more restrictive abortion laws had higher maternal-mortality and infant-mortality rates. Now, experts are predicting at least a 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths across the country.

As is always the case with public-health crises in America—the only industrialized country without some form of universal healthcare—it's the poor who will suffer the most. Survey data shows that nearly 50% of women who seek abortions live under the federal poverty line, while many more hover precariously above it. In states that limit or ban abortion, poor women and others will now face an immediate threat of heightened health complications, as well as the long-term damage associated with abortion restrictions.

Indeed, data collected by economists in the decades after Roe v. Wade indicates that the greater the limits on abortion, the more poverty for parents and the less education for their children. Worse yet, the 13 states that had trigger laws designed to outlaw abortion in the event of a Roe reversal were already among the poorest in the country. Now, poor people in poor states will be on the punishing spear tip of our post-Roe world.

While the Supreme Court's grim decision means more pain and hardship for women, transgender, and gender non-confirming people, it signals even more: the validation of a half-century-old strategy by Christian nationalists to remake the very fabric of this nation. For the businessmen, pastors, and politicians who laid the foundations for the Dobbs ruling, this was never just about abortion.

The multi-decade campaign to reverse Roe v. Wade has always been about building a political movement to seize and wield political power. For decades, it's championed a vision of "family values" grounded in the nuclear family and a version of community life meant to tightly control sex and sexuality, while sanctioning attacks on women and LGBTQIA people. Thanks to its militant and disciplined fight to bring down Roe, this Christian nationalist movement........

© Common Dreams


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